SPONSORED: Online Clarion County Comprehensive Plan Survey Ends October 22, 2021: Make a Wish List
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – A 22-question online survey is the next step in developing Clarion County Comprehensive Plan, according to Laura Ludwig, Senior Community Planner of Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc.
The plan is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/clarioncountysurvey or photographing a QR Code with a cell phone at the top of this page or on the graphic at the bottom of this article. Paper copies of the survey will also be available throughout Clarion County. Hard copies of the survey will also be available at the Clarion County YMCA and at the various senior living facilities throughout the county. The Clarion County Planning office will work on dispersing hard copies.
The survey is also available on the Clarion County Public Website: www.co.clarion.pa.us.
Clarion County applied for and received a grant of $30,000.00 from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development for this study. While the project is estimated to cost $62,700.00, the project includes in-kind expenses of approximately $32,700.00. This includes county employee wages, legal advertising, legal review, Flyers, brochures, etc.
HRG was selected to guide the development of the plan.
“The survey is a follow-up to the July public input meeting that we had 25 people in attendance,” said Ludwig. “I know it’s hard during the summer with activities and other commitments to get people to that meeting. Hopefully, this is a good way to really get, more public input on some of the really important issues in the county. So, it will really help to inform us, as the consultants, so we have an idea of what some of the key themes and issues are after meeting with each of you individually and the first public meeting, and our ongoing monthly meetings with the steering committee.”
Commissioner Ed Heasley at the summer meeting stressed the importance of the comprehensive plan.
“It was not updated in 2014, and it is now 17 years old,” said Heasley. “We are updating our existing comprehensive plan not only because it’s outdated, but so it can be used as a working tool to guide the future of Clarion County addressing today’s needs.”
Commissioner Wayne Brosius added, “This plan is important for not only the county, but municipalities to apply for grant money.”
A strong comprehensive plan also serves as a backbone of information when applying for grants to fund needed community projects.
Commissioner Ted Tharan earlier described the plan as a wish list and encouraged people to use their imagination in describing what they think Clarion County needs.
The survey will be open until October 22 so it is after the Autumn Leaf Festival where the survey will be promoted.
“When folks get home and are settled and recovered from all of the festivities, they’ll still have a few days to complete the survey,” Ludlow said.
HRG plans to walk the Clarion County Township Association members through the planning process at the group’s annual meeting later this fall.
While there were only 25 representatives of businesses and developers at the July meeting, Ludlow offered some observations on the concerns expressed at the meeting, including the following:
• What should Clarion County look like in 10 years and what types of improvements should be made?
“We got a lot of mentions of the Clarion County Park. I think people very much value that park. I think there’s already a lot of improvements scheduled and the radar, but other things that were identified were an amphitheater, restrooms, renovations of concession stands, a public pool, cross-country trails, softball field improvements, and maybe more winter activities as well, capitalizing on the belief recreation can be all year round,” Ludlow explained.
• Downtown Clarion Borough was mentioned as a favorite place and a lot and things are needed, including more retail shops, policies more receptive to businesses, and support for small-scale local mom-and-pop-type businesses.
• The Clarion River was another favorite place identified, and people suggested upgrading the existing two boat launches and adding more launches and better signage directing people to the boat launches and increased access to some of these surrounding waterways.
• There were marketing signage and specific points of interest for the North Country Trail and the Route 66 Country Trail in Clarion Borough and Clarion Township. The pool was mentioned as a need and then more activities for young families, such as art and educational opportunities.
• Cook Forest was also mentioned, and that’s specifically tied into expanding broadband internet access up in that area of the county and then also the public sanitary sewers up there, as well.
• Any improvements for sewer and water improvements off Interstate exits, spur development, increased public transportation, and parking.
• Employment needs were front and center, more jobs that pay a good living wage and opportunities for more industrial development to bring in more jobs.
“It doesn’t take us long to analyze the results of the survey,” continued Ludwig.
“Those would be presented at the next public meeting, hopefully before the Thanksgiving holiday.
“There will be additional public meetings as this process continues. Once we get an actual draft plan for the County Planning Commission, we’ll have a public meeting. The commissioners will also have a public hearing, and we can also hold additional meetings if needed before approval by the commissioners in early 2022. The plan will also be available for public review for 45 days.”
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